How Is DaBaby Still Getting Away With This Shit?

The rapper was just charged with felony battery. Here's a complete look at his years of violent and controversial behavior.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
Photo by Paras Griffin / Getty Images

Just weeks after DaBaby allegedly shot someone in the leg and attacked a man in a bowling alley, the rapper was charged with felony battery for a separate incident on Saturday, TMZ reported. DaBaby, whose legal name is Jonathan Kirk, has been accused of punching a 64-year-old man in the face and knocking out his tooth in late 2020. If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison.


The battery charge is just the latest in a long line of controversies swirling around DaBaby, who has been dogged by them near-constantly since he rose to fame in 2019 after releasing his debut album, Baby on Baby. But time after time, he somehow manages to elide any real consequences, avoiding prison time and lasting damage to his career. Below is every scandal the rapper has faced over the years, from a fatal shooting in the early days of his career to his most recent legal debacle.

November 5, 2018: Walmart shooting

In 2018, DaBaby shot and killed 19-year-old Jaylin Craig in a North Carolina Walmart. The rapper told police that Craig and a second man, Henry Douglas, were following him around the Charlotte-area store while he was shopping with his then-partner and their children, Rolling Stone reported in late April. DaBaby claimed that the two men were threatening him and flashed a gun at him, and that Douglas asked him if he wanted to fight. The three men started brawling, and DaBaby then shot Craig in the side. The 19-year-old died within minutes.

DaBaby insisted he acted in self-defense, telling police it was a matter of “life and death for me and my kids.” But Rolling Stone recently obtained security footage that, as reporter Cheyenne Roundtree wrote, “raises doubts about his story” and “appears to contradict key aspects of [his] version of events.” The tape seems to show that DaBaby, not his purported assailants, started the altercation. It’s unclear in the footage whether Craig was actually brandishing a gun when DaBaby shot him.


DaBaby was never charged for killing Craig. A spokesman for the DA’s office told Rolling Stone prosecutors didn’t pursue charges against DaBaby because they “could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.” Instead, DaBaby was charged and convicted of carrying a concealed weapon, according to TMZ. But he avoided doing any jail time, walking away with a year of unsupervised probation. He’s alluded to killing Craig in a number of his songs, including 2020’s “Rockstar,” in which he raps,  “My daughter a G, she saw me kill a n— in front of her before the age of two.”

December 31, 2019: Miami robbery

On New Years’ Eve in 2019, DaBaby was arrested in Miami in connection with a robbery. According to an arrest report obtained by Rolling Stone at the time, the rapper had trekked to Florida to host a party at ​​Cafe Iguana Pines, a nightclub about halfway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. He had apparently been offered $30,000 for the gig, but when he showed up, the promoters allegedly only gave him $20,000. DaBaby “began demanding the rest of the money,” the arrest report states, which led to a physical fight between him, the promoters, and “several other” men. Someone in DaBaby’s camp allegedly stole an iPhone, a credit card, and about $80 in cash from one of the promoters, Rolling Stone reported. 

DaBaby was charged with battery, but that charge was dropped in March of 2020, according to TMZ. Though investigators were reportedly mulling other charges against DaBaby at the time, they never formally charged him with robbery. Meanwhile, a civil suit filed against DaBaby by Kenneth Carey, one of the promoters he allegedly assaulted, is ongoing.


March 7, 2020: Tampa assault

In 2020, DaBaby hit a woman at a nightclub in Tampa, Florida where he had just finished performing. As he made his way through the crowd toward an exit, someone shined a light near his face, and appeared to bump him in the eye with their phone, video obtained by TMZ shows. DaBaby reacted by smacking someone in the crowd in the face. That woman, Tyronesha Laws, reportedly told police that DaBaby hit the wrong person; it was a fan next to her who had shined the light in DaBaby’s face, she explained, not her.

In the aftermath of that incident, DaBaby posted a video on Instagram addressing what had happened. He apologized, then backpedaled and essentially blamed the whole thing on whoever had ticked him off. 

“I do sincerely apologize, I do. I’m very sorry that there was a female on the other end of that flashlight on that phone,” DaBaby said in the video. “But you know, keep in mind, I couldn’t see, because you got the flash this close to me… How many people know how to zoom in? Just zoom in instead of popping me in my motherfuckin’ eye with the phone.”

DaBaby was never charged with a crime related to the altercation. 

July 25, 2021: Homphobic rant at Rolling Loud

Last summer, DaBaby went on a homophobic tirade at Rolling Loud, a music festival in Miami. “If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that’ll make you die in two to three weeks, then put your cell phone lighter up,” he said from the stage. “Fellas, if you ain’t sucking dick in the parking lot, put your cell phone lighter up.”

DaBaby was roundly condemned for his comments, but he doubled down on them just days later in a video he posted to Instagram. “My gay fans, they take care of themselves,” he said. “They ain’t no nasty gay n—s. See what I’m saying? They ain’t no junkies in the street.”


Within a week, seven major music festivals, including Lollapalooza and Governorf”s Ball, had axed DaBaby from their lineups, and boohooMAN, a fashion brand, ended its partnership with him. The rapper wound up issuing a formal apology via Instagram describing his statements as “hurtful,” “triggering,” and “misinformed,” and vowing, vaguely, to seek “education.” Shortly thereafter, he deleted it.

In August of 2021, GLAAD announced DaBaby had met with the nonprofit and eight other organizations involved with work around LGBTQ issues and HIV, Variety reported. The organizations wrote in a statement that DaBaby “was genuinely engaged, apologized for the inaccurate and hurtful comments he made about people living with HIV, and received our personal stories and the truth about HIV and its impact on Black and LGBTQ communities with deep respect.” 

Within months, DaBaby appeared to have overcome the scandal. In March of 2022, Rolling Loud announced it had invited DaBaby back to the festival. He’s slated to perform there in July.

February 9, 2022: Bowling alley brawl

In February, DaBaby got into a tiff with his ex-girlfriend’s brother, Brandon Bills, at a bowling alley in California. What started off as a verbal argument quickly turned physical, according to TMZ. DaBaby allegedly took a swing at Bills, and their fight spilled into the lanes of the bowling alley, where several of DaBaby’s friends joined the fray. Bills has since gone on to sue DaBaby for leaving him “physically and psychologically damaged,” Rolling Stone reported in February

DaBaby’s attorney, Drew Findling, described the suit as a “money grab,” and insisted that it was Bills, not DaBaby, who started the fight. Meanwhile, investigators may be considering bringing charges against DaBaby for the alleged assault, according to TMZ, which cited anonymous “law enforcement sources.”

April 13, 2022: Shooting outside DaBaby’s home

On April 13, a person was shot outside of DaBaby’s North Carolina home, according to Billboard. Police haven’t provided many details on the incident, and wouldn’t even disclose if DaBaby was involved. But two days after the shooting, TMZ published audio of what it claimed was a 911 call DaBaby made to the cops immediately after the shooting. “I shot him in his leg,” a man who TMZ reported is DaBaby says during the call. “He’s trespassing on my property, calling me by my name.” 

Police described the victim’s injury as “non-life-threatening,” and wrote that he had been taken to a local hospital for treatment. 


April 30, 2022: Battery in LA

That brings us to DaBaby’s most recent scandal: the felony battery charge he was hit with over the weekend. In December of 2020, DaBaby rented a home in Hollywood from a man named Gary Pragar. Pragar had explicitly told the rapper he couldn’t have more than 12 people in the house at a time, and that he couldn’t shoot a music video there, according to a civil lawsuit Pragar filed against the rapper. But on the first day DaBaby showed up, Pragar claims, DaBaby brought more than 40 people to the house, along with a professional camera crew. 

When Pragar showed up to the house and asked everyone to leave, DaBaby and his friends “beat, punched, spat on, threatened, shoved, and robbed” Pragar, according to his suit. At a certain point, Pragar claims, DaBaby punched him in the mouth and knocked out one of his teeth. Pragar was left “battered and traumatized,” his suit states.

On Saturday, the LA District Attorney’s office charged DaBaby with felony battery, and a second man who was allegedly involved, Thankgod Awute, with felony robbery. On Sunday, DaBaby uploaded a video to TikTok in which he called Pragar a “white supremacist.” In it, a man he claims is Pragar shouts the N-word at DaBaby and his friends.

The incident, the rapper wrote on TikTok, was just “today’s episode of ‘let’s make DaBaby look like a bad person.’”

Drew Schwartz is a senior staff writer at VICE. Follow him on Twitter.